I am a libertarian in Baltimore City. Libertarianism is a political philosophy founded in the principle of non-aggression (or NAP), which holds that it is immoral to interfere with somebody else’s person or property without their consent (or “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff”). As I hope you can see, this is a basic moral principle that practically everyone is expected to observe in their private interactions with other people.
Libertarianism simply extends this principle to government itself, i.e. if it is immoral for me as a private individual to interfere with your person or property without your consent, it is likewise immoral for a government agent to do the same. This has some interesting implications for the government’s legitimacy, or at least for the legitimacy of actions the government takes that we would not allow a private individual to take. For example, we think it’s one thing for a private individual to take someone’s property without their consent, but when government does it (as with eminent domain or taxation) we think that’s allowable. Why we don’t treat the two the same is an interesting question, but libertarianism challenges supporters of such government action to defend it.
My intent with this blog is to apply this philosophy to the particular issues facing city residents. It’s an ambitious project, since Baltimoreans, like many residents of big cities, seem particularly prone to seeing government as the solution rather than the problem. I hope to provide some balance to that view here. Although my beliefs about government are pretty radical, I will try to focus on concrete, small-step reductions in government that can lead to better social outcomes.